Music education hub

This page has information for schools, parents and students on the music hub in Northumberland.

Information on current events and reminders

Bedlington to Ashington Building Brass
Brass is Back
Woodhorn Museum

On the 25th May 2018 Woodhorn Museum will come alive to the sound of youth brass bands.  Over 400 children from across the Bedlington and Ashington school partnerships will come together to celebrate the work that has taken place in their schools during a three year brass regeneration project.

Through funding received from Youth Music, Music Partnership North has created 13 school based mini brass bands and through the life of the project students have received weekly tuition on cornets, trombones, baritones and tenor horns.  On the 25th May they will all come together for the first time to play at an open air performance like no other.

Over the last fews months all of the mini band students have been visiting Woodhorn Museum to learn about the heritage of brass bands and how integral they were to the mining communities and of course the miners picnic.  Following on from this work some of the students will also be performing at the Woodhorn Miners Picnic on the 9th June.

The event on the 25th May is open to the public so please do come along, bring the sun with you and support the next generation of brass players.  The performance will take place between 1 - 2pm.

Ensemble Applications 2018-19

Click here to view the ensembles we are running next year with information on fees and how to apply!


Instrumental / Vocal Tuition September 2018

If you would like your child to learn a musical instrument and they attend one of our direct billing schools (The Duchess's High, King Edward V1 High, Morpeth Middle Schools, Dr Thomlinson Middle School, Burnside Primary School), then please register online at 

For further information please call 01670 624045.


Instrument & Equipment Sale

Click here to view the latest list of instruments & equipment we have for sale. 

“Music Partnership North is committed to enriching the lives of all children and young people through engagement and participation in quality music activities; enabling progression to excellence through a variety of musical pathways.”

Music Partnership North is one of 122 music hubs across England set up to support and enhance music education for children and young people in their area in line with the aims of The Importance of Music: A National Plan for Music Education (NPME).

In Northumberland we are part of the Music Partnership North hub. This is a partnership between:
  • Northumberland County Council music service
  • Newcastle City Council music service
  • Sage Gateshead

Northumberland is the lead organisation within the hub but we work jointly with Newcastle Music Service and Sage Gateshead to provide a quality range of musical activities and tuition to inspire children and young people from all backgrounds and circumstances.

Through our work with numerous partners, local organisations and educational establishments, we use music to support and develop individuals to help them reach their full potential through various musical pathways.
We are the music education hub for Northumberland.

Our aims are:
  • to provide a range of musical activities for all children and young people, including those in challenging circumstances
  • to support and develop progression routes for all students, enabling them to fulfil their potential
  • to work with local communities and educational establishments to support and enrich opportunities
  • to provide continuing professional development and training to both school based and Music Partnership North staff
  • to be committed to the support of musical activities in early years settings
  • to support the aims of The Importance of Music, A National Plan For Music Education, available here, ensuring every child aged five to 18 years:
    • has the opportunity to sing and learn a musical instrument
    • has the opportunity to perform as part of an ensemble or choir
    • has the opportunity to progress and improve their talent 
Information on how we work with schools, students and parents to provide a quality musical experience.

Music Partnership North look to engage with all Northumberland schools through a variety of different pathways. We work closely with other partner organisations to ensure that we provide tuition and advice of the highest quality and best value.
Music Partnership North provides an extensive range of instrumental, vocal and class music tuition to schools in both Northumberland and Newcastle. We deliver quality tuition on traditional instruments such as Northumbrian pipes and accordion through to guitar, brass, strings, keyboard, vocal, percussion and woodwind. Every school has a Designated Link Officer (DLO) who is able to offer support and guidance on all issues related to music curriculum and opportunities for your school.  Contact details for the designated link officer for your school partnership is listed below:

Jacky Craig
School Partnerships: Ashington, Bedlington, Blyth, Cramlington

Tel: 01670 624040

​David Francis
School Partnerships: Haydon Bridge, Hexham, Ponteland, Prudhoe, Seaton Valley

Tel: 01670 620525

Richard Johnstone
School Partnerships: Alnwick, Amble, Berwick, Morpeth 

Tel: 01670 624047

Lessons normally take place during the school day and are rotated whenever possible so students do not miss the same lesson each week. The instrumental lessons offered within school will depend on the availability of tutors in the area and the number of students interested in learning.

The cost of tuition will vary from school to school and is dependant on factors such as group size and the number of lessons each term. Please check with your school to see what tuition is available and cost.

It can be hard to choose which instrument to start playing. Here are some tips which may help you decide:
  • Find out which instruments are available at your school. Sometimes schools will organise a demonstration to help students decide.
  • Listen to different music in different styles and genres. Look on YouTube or go to a local concert or event. This may help you to find an instrument you like.
  • Think about the style of music you like and find out which instruments are commonly played in that genre.
  • Ask if you can visit a local community band or group to listen to the instruments and talk to the members about their instruments.
Music Partnership North have a limited number of instruments for hire to students having lessons with one of our tutors. There is a termly rental charge, currently £22 per instrument, which is collected via school. We do not hire drum kits, pianos or keyboards. Parents will be expected to ensure that the instrument is insured against damage and / or theft. The instrument will be supplied in working order but parents will need to replace supplementary items such as valve oil, strings, reeds etc at a later date.

Once lessons have been confirmed the school or music tutor will request an instrument for the student and this will be delivered to school.

Some instruments need extra equipment, such as reeds or strings, and this will add an ongoing cost to learning to play, although for a beginner these costs are quite low.  If you need further advice about tuition or instrument choices, please contact the office on 01670 624045.
Click here to view the terms and conditions associated with instrumental and vocal tuition offered by Music Partnership North.

Click here to view and print an Agreement Form between School and Parents for the hire of instruments.

For more details on current insurance replacement values, please telephone the office on 01670 624046.
Whole class ensemble tuition (WCET) usually takes place in a first or primary school on a weekly basis.

A Music Partnership North tutor, alongside a member of staff from school, will deliver music tuition to a whole class to give every child the opportunity to play a musical instrument in line with the aspirations of the National Plan for Music Education.

We run programmes on a wide range of instruments and projects are designed in collaboration with the school.

Students enjoy learning together and WCET programmes teach students a wide range of general musicianship skills, which are invaluable for whichever instrument they choose to continue on.

Participating in performances is an integral part of being a musician, and our WCET projects are designed to include performance opportunities, either within school, or as part of a wider performance with other schools.

Click here to watch our young musicians showcase at The Alnwick Garden 2017.

How do we set up whole class ensemble tuition in school?
Please contact the designated link officer for your school partnership to discuss this. There are different options available and we can help you to plan a project that is right for you, your students and your school.

How much does it cost?
Our whole class ensemble tuition projects are subsidised by the music education grant. Costs vary depending on the project and we can help you find the right project to suit your budget. Further information is available from your designated link officer.

How can children continue to learn after their whole class ensemble tuition experience?
Once your whole class ensemble tuition programme has been completed, there will hopefully be students who would like to continue to learn on the same or different instrument.

Click here to view a case study by Herefordshire Music Service, looking at the link between pupils who have been part of a WCET project and their progress in reading, writing and maths.

The music education grant received by Music Partnership North is used to subsidise whole class ensemble tuition.  Schools can apply for a project through the Service Level Agreement at a greatly reduced cost and each project, where applicable, includes a full set of instruments. Projects last up to 3 terms and will end with a class or sometimes joint schools performance.

To view the 2018-2019 SLA document and link to the online application form click here

If you would like to see our supporting SLA documentation then please click here for the Appendix.

With the launch of The Importance of Music, A National Plan For Music Education (NPME), schools can decide their own curriculum. A key part of our work involves working with schools and early years providers to support them as they develop, plan and deliver their music curriculum and associated policies. We can provide specialist teachers to deliver some of the music curriculum, or to work alongside the classroom teacher to develop their skills.

For further advice and information on how we might help your school please contact the designated link officer for your school partnership:

Jacky Craig
School Partnerships: Ashington, Bedlington, Blyth, Cramlington
Tel: 01670 624040

​David Francis
School Partnerships: Haydon Bridge, Hexham, Ponteland, Prudhoe, Seaton Valley
Tel: 01670 620525

Richard Johnstone
School Partnerships: Alnwick, Amble, Berwick, Morpeth,  
Tel: 01670 624047
Click here to access the revised 2017 School Music Education Plan (SMEP)

It is hoped that once a student has completed their initial whole class project they would like to continue with tuition.  Follow on or continuation tuition is proving very popular with students when a class project ends. Tuition is usually on the same instrument but increasing numbers of children opt to try a different instrument.


Sometimes schools may require support for a specific event or performance. This could be teaching techniques for singing as part of a show or musical, or preparation for GCSE or A-Level performance. Some of our tutors have delivered workshops for raising confidence in delivery, voice projection and microphone technique, not just for singing but for general presentation needs.

We regularly run workshops in schools, which can support and enhance general curriculum work. We offer a number of workshop options with steel pans and samba drumming proving very popular.  As part of our provision for gifted and talented vocal students, we will facilitate a number of workshop and masterclass days with specialist vocal leadership throughout the year. Schools should contact their designated link officer to discuss workshop opportunities for their school.

After school music clubs are a favourite with children and are a fun way to introduce a child to music making. 

Tyne Valley Tunes comes to Corbridge

On Saturday 10th March, MPN came to Corbridge to present Tyne Valley Tunes - a workshop designed to give young instrumentalists their first experience of playing in an ensemble. 25 children from 14 different schools took part, travelling from as far away as Alnwick and Rothbury. The group learned and performed material along to backing tracks, supported by MPN tutors and led by tutor and composer Justin Radford. The children said that taking part had helped them improve sight-reading, learn how to stay in time and to play as part of a group. When asked what they had enjoyed most many said “Playing in a big group with different instruments” while one child enthusiastically replied “Everything!”
More workshops are planned for next academic year. If you would like to be kept informed about future events please get in touch with MPN.



Many schools will offer financial assistance to students in receipt of pupil premium. Parents should enquire with their school in the first instance.  Music Partnership North will offer free instrument hire to students having lessons with a Music Partnership North tutor who are eligible for free school meals or is a looked after child.
An amount of £30 per term is available to students having music lessons with a Music Partnership North tutor as part of a GCSE or other higher level course. It is expected that students will have attended a minimum of seven out of ten lessons to qualify.
Some organisations may offer grants for instruments or tuition. Please see the links below.
Awards for Young Musicians
Future Talent

EMI Music Equipment Purchase Funding
Music For All
Take it away scheme
EMI Music Sound Foundation

Instrumental purchase
If you decide to purchase an instrument you may be able to take advantage of the Assisted Purchase Scheme. HMRC will allow parents to purchase an instrument free of VAT if a student is having music lessons in school. All instruments must be portable and be taken to music lessons on a regular basis. Northumberland will organise these purchases on behalf of a student if they are having lessons with a Music Partnership North tutor within a Northumberland school.  Please click here for an application form and instructions on how to apply.

If you would like further advice on learning to play an instrument please email:  (Northumberland)  (Newcastle)

Lead Officer
Jacky Craig
School Partnerships: Ashington, Bedlington, Blyth, Cramlington

Tel: 01670 624040

Deputy Lead Officer
​David Francis
School Partnerships: Haydon Bridge, Hexham, Ponteland, Prudhoe, Seaton Valley

Tel: 01670 620525

Music Co-ordinator
Richard Johnstone
School Partnerships: Alnwick, Amble, Berwick, Morpeth

Tel: 01670 624047
Senior Administrator
Lesley Scott

Tel: 01670 624045
Business Development Officer
Fiona Johnstone

Tel: 01670 624039
Administration Assistant 
Rachel Robbins
Tel: 01670 624046

Administration Assistant 
Charlotte Dyson
Tel: 01670 624046

Music Partnership North
Wansbeck Workspace
Rotary Parkway
NE63 8QZ

MPN Instrumental Tutors
Steven Ballantyne
Carly Blain 
James Boyle  
John Bradford
Matthew Browell
Stephanie Brown
John Buckton   
Richard Burns   
Alison Coates  
Andrea Devere
Stephen Doyle 
Heather Ferrier  
Matthew Forster
Ann-Britt Hedley
Gillian Martin  
Stephanie Naisbett  
Annelise Nicklen
Frances Orde 
Flora Smith 
Justin Radford 
Christopher Reay 
John Reed  
Christopher Robertson  
Alison Rudd 
Julie Shevlin
Julie Silversides  
Emily Stephenson  
Liane Todd  
Robert Vallance  
Daniel Ward  
Heather Willshire
Jonathon Winter
This page is about ensembles and music groups and the ways that you can get involved.

Ensemble is a broad title for any sort of group music-making activity. It covers every genre of music including traditional, jazz, rock and pop.

We encourage all students to take part in music groups and ensembles, whatever their ability. Playing a musical instrument and performing with others is rewarding, enjoyable and a valuable skill. We strive for the best opportunities for students to ensure they fulfil their potential. Exceptionally talented students are signposted to regional and national ensembles and events. Click here to find out more about the ensembles we offer.

We can also offer advice and guidance for students contemplating further education in music. For all other enquiries relating to the ensembles, please contact

If there isn’t an ensemble you can play in at school, then ask your music teacher, who may be able to help set one up, or talk to us about it. There may also be a local group that would welcome you as a member. When students are offered places in a county ensemble, they’re expected to continue with their school ensemble too.

Do you play strings, brass, woodwind, drums or percussion?  Would you like to meet other young musicians and learn to play new and exciting music? Improve your playing in a fun and friendly environment and perform in concerts?  

We meet for evening rehearsals at Morpeth Methodist Church from 6.00-8.00pm.
We also hold a weekend residential course at Broomley Grange.
New members will be asked to come for a short, informal audition.
  • Instruments: Strings, Brass, Woodwind, Drums, Percussion
  • Entry: Grade 3 or equivalent
  • Rehearsals: Take place at Morpeth Methodist Church, Howard Terrace, Morpeth, NE61 1HU on Thursdays from 6.00 - 8.00pm
  • Cost: £145 per year
  • Contact:
Additional Information:  Students are accepted into this ensemble at any point throughout the year.  
Please note that students are required to re-apply each year for membership to all ensembles.

Rehearsal Dates Remaining 2017-18
May 17th 2018

May 24th 2018 at Morpeth Methodist Church

Residential Course 2018
November 24th & 25th 2018 at Broomley Grange

Rehearsal Dates 2018-19 TBC

Do you play the fiddle, Northumbrian pipes, cello, harp, accordion, percussion, concertina, flute, guitar or keyboard?

The Northumbrian Ranters is made up of talented young traditional musicians from across Northumberland. Their aim is to promote and raise the profile of traditional music both in the county and further afield.

A quote from a parent:
"My daughter has had lots of fun with the Ranters – making lots of new friends – near and far.  The experience has been very important to her musical development – as a flautist, singer and performer.  These young musicians are nurtured and grow in confidence, as individuals and as a group – wonderful to see. Lots of opportunities -concerts, residential weekends and tours to Scotland and the USA – not to mention making a CD – amazing!

"As a parent, so many opportunities to watch and feel so very proud! Thanks to all the staff –  it would not have been possible without you!"

New members will be asked to come for a short audition as soon as applications are received.
  • Entry: Fiddle, grade 3 or equivalent. Flute, grade 5 or equivalent. For all other instruments please email the contact below
  • Rehearsals: 6.00 - 8.30pm on Thursdays at Morpeth Methodist Church (see below)
  • Cost: £190
  • Contact:
Additional Information

This ensemble requires a high level of commitment as the group are involved in a substantial number of high profile performances throughout the year.

As part of the performance students are required to sing and will have the opportunity to participate in other traditional experiences such as clog dancing.

Rehearsals Remaining 2017-18
July 5th 2018  Morpeth Methodist Church

April 28th 2018  Concert - Alnwick Playhouse 
July 7th 2018  Ranters leavers concert Carham 1018

Rehearsals 2018-19

Residential 2018-19
Seahouses Youth Hostel 10th & 11th November 2018

This ensemble is a community based project and membership is made up of both adults and students. We actively recruit students who have been involved in school based brass band projects.

Please click here to find out more about joining Bedlington Brass Band!


  • Instruments: cornet, flugel horn, tenor horn, baritone, euphonium, trombone, bass
  • Entry level: progression from the Bedlington Brass school mini-bands
  • About: this ensemble is sponsored by Bristol Street Motors (Ford) Morpeth, Vertu Group
  • Rehearsals: the band meets at Bedlington Community Centre on a Tuesday evening from 6.00 - 6.45pm (sight reading and tuition session), 6.45 - 8.30pm full band rehearsal
  • Cost: Free
  • Contact:
September 26th 2017
October 3rd / 10th / 17th / 31st  2017
November 7th / 14th / 21st / 28th 2017
December 5th 2017
January 9th / 16th / 23rd / 30th  2018
February 6th / 20th / 27th   2018
March 6th / 13th / 20th  2018
April 17th / 24th   2018
May 1st / 8th / 15th / 22nd   2018
June 5th / 12th / 19th / 26th   2018


The aim of the group is to encourage young piper's to share enthusiasm and skills with other pipers from across the county. They meet once every half term on a Saturday morning and is open to any student in full time education.

  • Instruments: Northumbrian small pipes
  • Entry: Minimum six months of playing experience
  • About: This initiative is made possible through the partnership working of MPN and the Northumbrian Piper's Society. Students will develop their skills through working with professional musicians and gain knowledge.
  • Rehearsals: Morpeth Chantry bagpipe museum on Saturday mornings 10am-12pm.
  • Contact:
  • Cost: £1 donation at each workshop
September 30th 2017
December 2nd 2017
February 3rd 2018
March 24th 2018
April 28th 2018
June 30th 2018
We often work with schools to help them develop new ensemble opportunities for students according to need and to develop progression routes for their students.
There are many community ensembles in Northumberland, which give students an opportunity to play and mix with a wider range of individuals.

We recognise the importance of these ensembles and actively encourage students to participate in them. If you’re looking for a group for yourself or your child to play in, please contact us using the details below and we may be able to suggest one.

Fiona Johnstone
Tel: 01670 624039

We strive for the best opportunities for students to ensure they fulfil their potential. Exceptionally talented students are signposted to regional and national ensembles and events.

We can also offer advice and guidance for students contemplating further education in music. For all other enquiries relating to the ensembles, please contact Jacky Craig.
This page tells you about schools’ music curriculum and how the council supports them.

With the launch of The Importance of Music, a National Plan for Music Education (NPME), schools have the flexibility to decide what their music curriculum includes.

At Music Partnership North, we aim to support schools in achieving the aims of the NPME.

We can help your school by:
  • supporting you in designing and developing your music curriculum to meet the needs of your school and students
  • offering expert advice and guidance on a range of matters
  • designing a support plan in consultation with you, building on current practice to ensure high quality music provision
Support can be bought in on an individual basis, or through our service level agreement.

Find out more about how we can help and what resources are available by clicking on the sections below.
Our service level agreement offers a package of support to enable schools to achieve the aims of the NPME. For more detailed information on our SLA please click here

Services we provide include:
  • understanding the music curriculum
  • developing extra-curricular provision
  • policy design
  • subject action plans
  • developing confidence in planning and delivery
  • good practice in music assessment
  • Ofsted preparation and guidelines
  • advice on using music technology
Curriculum delivery support
We can provide specialist teachers to deliver some of the music curriculum, or to work alongside the classroom teacher to develop their skills.

Schools that have bought into the teaching and learning package can attend any course free of charge. Alternatively, schools can buy into the SLA as a group and courses can be arranged within the partnership area.

For more information on any of these areas, please contact:

Jacky Craig
Tel: 01670 624040
Charanga can transform your curriculum delivery by giving you online access to hundreds of resources designed to enhance your lessons.

Schools across the country are experiencing the benefits and finding it incredible value for money. By purchasing the system through Music Partnership North, we can offer you a discount on membership.

Please click here for further information and to apply for a licence
Practical courses are run to help support curriculum delivery in schools. These courses are full of ideas to inspire and encourage, often with practical resources included.

Full day courses are usually run at a central venue, with twilight courses being delivered in different locations. Alternatively, we can run a course in your local area in partnership with you and can be focused on particular themes.

Recent popular courses have included music pattern and number, music and literacy, creative curriculum, boomwhackers and singing with confidence.

To discuss a course for your local area, please contact:

Jacky Craig
Tel: 01670 624040
Early years, primary and secondary network days are run through the year. They’re designed to keep schools and staff informed on musical issues, including current local, regional and national developments, policy and practice.

These usually include a practical element and are an opportunity for schools to keep pace with the ever-changing music education landscape.

Primary Network Day - East Bedlington Community Centre 27th March 2018
While this event is aimed specifically at Northumberland and Newcastle primary schools, cultural partners are most welcome to attend.  Some of the topics from the day will be music curriculum for primary schools, partnership projects and expectations of whole class ensemble teaching. Click here to find out more. 
We provide a range of opportunities for early years music making, including training in delivery, parent and child sessions and practical workshops.

We run an early years network day annually, often bringing in external providers to inspire your delivery through practical engagement.
Music Partnership North – Northumberland (MPN) are committed to providing a high-quality musical and cultural experience for all young people we currently work with and to those we hope to work with in the future.

Arts award supporter logoWe provide support and guidance at all levels of the Arts Award journey, through either direct coaching in a sole advisory capacity or supervision for students and joint Arts Award delivery with other cultural organisations through our Arts Award support role.

MPN delivers Discover, Explore, Bronze, Silver and Gold Arts Award qualifications. Delivery of these programmes can be through either your involvement in a whole class instrumental or vocal programme in school, your membership to one of our ensembles, through a project delivered with our partners or through a standalone bespoke programme to match your needs. 

While our programme is predominately music, we are able to support you in any of your chosen art forms through our engagement and in-depth working with many cultural organisations across Northumberland. Through this, we ensure you receive an extensive and rewarding involvement in the arts.

Click here to read 'Arts Award & Music Education Hubs' Blog by Lead Officer Jacky Craig.
MPN is able to support organisations and predominantly schools in their Arts Award journey and delivery.

We can either deliver your Arts Award programme for you, within your setting, or we can work in partnership to deliver certain aspects/sections of the Arts Award portfolios thus reducing the workload while broadening the scope of the journey of the students.
Discover - start your arts adventure (around 20 hours to complete, ages five to 25 years)
  • Discover the arts around you and take part in different arts activities.
  • Find out about artists and their work.
  • Share your experiences with others.
MPN now give schools the opportunity to engage with all students involved in a whole class project to embark on this journey of discovery and is well suited to a short whole class project such as an arts enrichment week.

Explore – be inspired by the arts (around 25 hours to complete, ages seven to 25 years)
  • Take part in different arts activities and record what inspires you.
  • Explore arts organisations and artists.
  • Make art work to demonstrate your arts skills and creativity.
  • Share some of your exploration with others and record what you do.
This entry level one moderated programme is EQF level one accredited and is a starting point for SEND pupils or students who are not yet 11 years old but want to carry on with their Arts Award journey, following on from Discover.

Bronze – get involved in the arts and share your skills (around 40 hours to complete, ages 11 to 25 years)
  • Take part in an arts activity to develop your skills.
  • Experience the arts as an audience member and record your response.
  • Who is your arts inspiration and why?
  • Share your arts skills with others.
This level one qualification, EQF level two is equivalent to GCSE D-G grade and starts to explore the arts in more detail and focuses on the individual’s arts inspiration and sharing a skill. This is well suited to smaller groups of students or as a golden time reward programme.

Silver – challenge yourself and build your creativity (around 60 hours to complete, ages 11 to 25 years) 
  • Set yourself an arts challenge.
  • Review a show, exhibition or event and share your views.
  • Research an artist and arts activities.
  • Get involved in arts leadership, sharing your skills with others.
This is a level two qualification, EQF level three project and is equivalent to GCSE A*-C grade. This is a step up from the previous qualification and expects students to take more responsibility for their progress. This qualification requires a high amount of dedication and we would suggest delivering this with a smaller number of students.

Gold – drive your personal development in the arts (around 90 hours to complete, ages 11 to 25 years)
  • Extend your arts skills by gaining experience in a new field of the arts.
  • Get involved in the arts through volunteering, work placements etc.
  • Research and review high-quality arts events.
  • Make a case for an art issue that you care about.
  • Take responsibility as an arts project leader.
This EQF level four qualification, A-level standard, also carries 35 UCAS points. Gold treats the young person as a “young creative” and expects experimentation, opinions and an arts project. This requires a large commitment from the young person and the advisor. 
We can either provide full ownership of guiding the students through their arts award or provide support to schools or cultural organisations / venues to deliver part of the modules as required.

Example of student involved in a Northumbrian pipes project and completing their Bronze Arts Award portfolio:
  • Taking part – this student performed at the Woodhorn miners' picnic as part of this project: “I learnt a lot about the mines at Woodhorn about how the conditions were terrible and lots of people got very ill with TB. The air was full of coal dust. Not surprisingly, most people got asthma and were unable to work.”
  • Describe what arts skills you improved: “I believe that my ability has vastly improved as playing at the miners' picnic meant I practised more. Pipes is all about perseverance. I have done that and it has given me a brilliant opportunity to give myself more practice at playing on stage.”
David, aged 12
For more information, please contact Fiona Johnstone:
This page details current projects and external partnerships with cultural and community organisations to broaden the opportunities for the young people we work with.

Through funding received from Youth Music, Music Partnership North are currently running a three year brass focused programme with schools from South East Northumberland.

This project runs directly on from the students whole class (WCET) experience and provides a clear progression route for all children to continue to play brass instruments in an ensemble setting.

Through the WCET programme, year three students receive one hour per week whole class instrumental tuition on instruments such as cornet, baritone, trombone and tenor horns.  Following directly on from this experience students joint either a lunchtime or after school mini brass band which is based within their school.  At this point students have the opportunity to change onto another brass instrument.

Built into the project is involvement in high scale quality performances such as performing at Sage Gateshead, Woodhorn Miners Picnic and joint brass band concerts across the region.

As we have three years funding the mini bands within the schools continue to grow and the ability and confidence of the students is clearly visible to see. Students are also encouraged to join either the project funded Bedlington Brass Band or other brass bands within the region.
Our outcomes built into the project are as follows:
  • For all children within Ashington and Bedlington school partnership to have the opportunity to continue to play a brass instrument
  • To raise the standards of musical performances in young people through tuition, raising aspirations and involvement in new and existing brass bands
  • To encourage community cohesion through engagement in and appreciation of their local heritage through the intergenerational brass band tradition and create a living legacy for the future
  • To develop a highly specialist brass coaching workforce, with an in-depth understanding of the brass band tradition through peer to peer learning
  • To recruit student to participate in the Arts Award programme
The following schools are involved in the project:

Ellington Primary School
Wansbeck Primary School
Linton Primary School
Pegswood Primary School
Central Primary School
Stead Lane Primary School
Bedlington Station Primary School
Bedlington West End First School
Whitley Memorial First School
Cambois Primary School
Choppington Primary School
Ringway Primary School
Mowbray Primary School
Stakeford Primary School
Meadowdale Academy

The whole of the project is being captured on video by YMCA Ashington and will be available to view during summer 2018. This will clearly show the impact this funding is having on the young people and adults within the project.

The Children’s University is a national organisation that provides 7 to 14 year olds access to exciting and innovative learning activities and experiences outside of the normal school day.  These activities are known as Learning Destinations.

This programme rewards children’s participation through the National Certificates.  For every hour they take part in an activity they receive a stamp within their passport and these go towards their National Children’s University Award Certificate.  The graduation ceremony take place each year with friends and family invited to watch the children receive their certificates.

Students who are over 14 can also sign up to become a volunteer and there is no upper age limit so parents can get involved too.  The volunteer system runs alongside the student passport scheme with evidence and stamps being collected while gaining experience in volunteering and learning new skills.  For more information on this scheme please visit the website listed at the bottom.

As well as school based activities (after school, lunchtime or school holidays) Learning Destinations can include, but are not limited to, workshops, lectures, libraries, museums, sports and creative arts such as music.

Schools can sign up to become a member or parents can purchase their child’s passport independently at a cost of £5.  However, many areas within south east Northumberland have purchased passports for all the children within their school.  If you are unsure if your child is eligible for this please ask your child’s school before purchasing a passport.

Music Partnership North have signed up to become a member of the Children’s University and so students can now receive stamps for attending our ensembles, lunchtime clubs or large scale events.  

If your child has a passport and would like to have their activity evidenced and stamped then please contact Fiona Johnstone 01670 624039.

Leading Link manage this programme in Northumberland and for more information on purchasing passports and the support they can offer please visit their website:

For more information on the Children’s University please visit their web site:

We’re pleased to announce Bristol Street Motors has kindly offered to sponsor the Bedlington Brass youth band and Bedlington Brass community band.

Bristol Street Motors, who are part of Vertu Motors PLC, already sponsor Dunston Silver Band and we’re looking forward to the bands working together to broaden their musical experience. Watch out for exciting developments in the future.

Click here to view the Vertu Motors press release.

Bristol Street Motors



                                   Reality Boots

   Offer for Northumberland and Newcastle Educational Establishments

Do your students need some inspiration?
Do you want to get them thinking and talking about politics, and unlock their musical potential?
Reality Boots are on tour, and are ready to bring their own musical shockwave to you.
Skimstone Arts is the only organisation in Newcastle that provide a space to create professional music, film and visual arts with opportunities specifically for socially vulnerable young people. Reality Boots are a band formed by some of the Young Artists we work with.
Reality Boots have developed a repertoire of hard-hitting songs exploring some of the issues around the rights of young adults, particularly how the voices of young people often fall between the cracks when it comes to political discourse, and how young people often feel they just don’t fit in with society.
Reality Boots is available for school visits and performances, Q&A sessions, and to deliver workshops on songwriting, live sound and recording software.
They will perform a set of original songs for your pupils, followed by a Q&A session wherein they provide insights into the making of their songs as well as their personal experiences as band members. They will then deliver your pre-chosen hour-long, inspirational workshop on either songwriting or live sound and recording.
Here is some feedback from last year's tour:   
“Alongside inspiring them to try something new I think that the stories shared by the musicians and artists who came in really impressed upon the young people here that there are positive fun things that you can do for free, and that no matter what they’ve gone through, they can still find something enjoyable and be a part of it. “
“I would rate it 10/10, I wish more people were doing things like this.”
“It was an excellent experience for us as an organisation and for our students. We could see that the work done by Skimstone is engaging, progressive, developmental and delivered professionally”
Workshops usually take place on Friday afternoon and the following dates are available; April 28th , May 5th ,19th & 26th , June 2nd , 9th, 23rd . A Thursday afternoon may be available by special arrangement.
The cost of a joint concert and workshop session is £150. For more information and to book a session please contact Peter Saaremets (Lead Musician) at



In partnership with the Royal Opera House, Music Partnership North are offering a limited number of schools the opportunity to sign up to this 10 week school based project.

Based on Bizet’s world famous opera Carmen, this KS2 singing programme will inspire a generation of school children to engage with opera through story, character and song.

The programme includes:
  • CPD day on the 26th January 2017 at St Cuthbert's Church Bedlington for up to 2 school members of staff with a director and vocal leader from the Royal Opera House
  • A 10 lesson scheme of work with learning outcomes and curriculum links to be delivered through the spring term
  • 2 models of support from Music Partnership North
  • Singing strategies and drama exercises
  • Online support
  • Specially created short films for guidance featuring Royal Opera House artists and Youth Opera Company
  • Online resources including backing tracks, arrangements for children's voices and additional digital classroom materials

The project will culminate in a school performance, and funding dependant a regional performance.

MPN are offering two models to reflect that some schools will feel confident in delivering this programme with only a small amount of support but others may wish MPN to have a greater role throughout  the programme.  

Models available:
£195 -  A member of MPN will provide five 1hr sessions throughout the programme to support  school sessions, end of project performance support and full telephone and email support

£350 - A member of MPN will provide ten 1hr sessions throughout the programme to support  school sessions, end of project performance support and full telephone and email support

This project has the flexibility to be delivered across either the whole of KS2 within your school or with a particular class with no limit to the number of students who can be involved.  Support from MPN can be tailored to fit in with your requirements as and when you need additional support.

School staff will be trained up in the skills of dramatic singing through their work with a song leader educator and a director from Royal Opera House and the support of an MPN singing tutor.

The skills learned by school staff can be transferred to all aspects of the arts such as school performances, plays and concerts.

The project will be delivered during the spring term with performances taking place during the summer term.

The closing date for all applications is the 1st December 2017.

This page gives you all of the news from our music education department.

Click here to view Spring 2018 newsletter
Click here to view Autumn 2017 newsletter
Click here to view Spring 2017 newsletter